S-RM describes dark PR (DPR) as an advanced type of propaganda in which inaccurate information is spread about a business.

The dissemination of this information is often instigated by a competitor. It is often done to dishevel a business's reputation so that the instigator's brand looks more favourable in comparison.

These tactics are often ruthless and can even destroy a brand's reputation. So, if you are the target of DPR tactics, how do you come out on top and redeem your reputation?

media update's Lara Smit sheds some light on how you can counteract dark PR here:

Monitor your mentions

Online platforms have made it incredibly easy to disseminate disinformation.

With the ability to create fake accounts, it's easy to hide behind a username and create fake news stories.

The false information given by one user then snowballs into a spread of inaccurate claims across numerous online channels.

An easy way to stop the snowball before it builds momentum is to keep an eye on the respective brand's online mentions. You can do this by using a social media auditing tool. This way, you will know what people are saying about your client's brand exactly when they say it and prevent any negative news about your client's reputation from being spread.

Prepare to react

Once you have discovered that your client's brand has been mentioned unfavourably online, you may want to react immediately. However, DPR makes the process of retaliating a little more tricky. Why?

With your reputation already in a delicate position, a response that hasn't been completely thought through could exacerbate the problem or create irrevocable damage.

Therefore, it's best to take a bit of time to formulate a response that cannot be misread or give audiences any reason to react negatively.

Stick to the facts

As the saying goes, 'You can't argue with the facts.' So, the easiest way to ensure that your statement doesn't receive any backlash is by simply stating all the facts.

Gather up all the information about the allegations made against your client's business and ensure that you address each one in a statement. While you address these claims, ensure that you provide factual evidence that counteracts each claim.

This will not only stop the spread of false news in its tracks but will ensure favourable retribution in the eyes of the public.

Additionally, a strong public statement that debunks fake news created about your brand may keep any other businesses that resort to DPR tactics at bay.

Displace the negative space

You don't want fake news about your brand to be at the top of your consumer's searches, do you?

Then it's time to create some positive stories about your brand to replace them and turn your reputation around.

Write up a few pieces highlighting the positive attributes of the brand you work for. Then consider hiring specialists to refine your SEO so that your pieces make it to the very top of user's searches.

Plus, if you use popular, credible publications to publish this content, consumers will be more likely to trust what is being said about your brand as it has been distributed through them. This will help you to further debunk any false information about your company that is published via untrustworthy channels.

What else do you think brands should do to counteract DPR? Let us know in the comments section below.

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Want to find out more about the dark side of PR, then be sure to read our article about Dealing with dark PR.
*Image courtesy of Canva